Last year, Truthout launched a new column, "Solutions: Making Government Work," written by Dina Rasor. As a longtime investigator, Rasor has exposed fraud against the federal government through journalism, transparency advocacy and whistleblower lawsuits to recover money back to the federal Treasury. The Solutions column was created to take her 30-year knowledge of why the government wasn't working and, slice by slice, come up with realistic solutions to fix long-term problems. The column spent its first year looking at solutions for government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Pentagon. These solutions were offered up as reforms during the time both political parties claimed that they were interested in governance to make the government work better. The Department of Defense Director of Defense Pricing, Shay Assad, has started a dialog with Rasor about one of her columns on how to fundamentally change the pricing of weapons to save billions of dollars.
However, during the course of writing weekly columns on fixing government, it has become more and more clear that any legislative and executive branch attempts to reform the system can be easily thwarted by the large influence of money in the system. Even though the Solutions column offered realistic solutions for reform, it has become obvious, more now than in the past, that the burgeoning problem of influence peddling with money will doom real reform. In this presidential election year, it is virtually impossible to expect serious governance from our elected and appointed officials in the federal government.
Therefore, the Solutions column will spend the rest of this year, until the election, following the money that keeps realistic reform from succeeding and concentrate on exposing and explaining how self-dealing is the No. 1 problem that is preventing our government from working. Self-dealing is a term usually used in business when a fiduciary makes decisions that are in his or her own self-interest instead of the company's. So, the Solutions column will look at our federal "fiduciary agents" and follow where the money is going, who it is buying and how the government is affected by the self-dealing corruption. There are many journalistic efforts this year to expose campaign contributions to see where they are from and where they are going through databases and aggregate numbers. The Solutions column will, instead, follow specific examples of individuals who are self-dealing for money for campaigns or jobs outside the federal government and follow the self-dealing trail to see how various parts of the government have been corrupted or injured by the self-dealing.
Today, we published the first article in the new series: "Self-Dealing in Government: No. 1 Impediment to Reform"
As we continue the series, Truthout readers are encouraged to send in suggestions of self-dealing to Dina Rasor at email@example.com to investigate.
Realistically, we know that this is a huge problem with no instant fixes, but let's get started exploring just what this pernicious money problem is doing to our democracy, one self-deal at a time.
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